What is ideal?
Strength is ideal.
Strength is in weakness.
Paul wrote about this in a letter he wrote to the Corinthians. Paul’s a pretty unique guy. He was hunting down Christians after Jesus’ death and killing them, which may make you think he was some sort of guard. But actually he was the highest trained jewish leader. He had been selected by the best of the best in religious biblical and jewish training (aka: he was wicked smart).
As he’s on his way to hunt and kill more Christians the spirit of Jesus (this is after Jesus had died, rose again and then went to heaven), knocked him off a donkey and made him blind. He then was lead to the very people who he was going to kill’s home and they performed a miracle and gave him his eye sight back.
After this happened he was pretty convinced this whole Jesus thing was true (obviously) and became a Christian.
He loved talking to people about this idea: weakness = strength.
Here’s what he wrote to the Corinthians.
“That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
-Paul (read for yourself, open your Bible turn to the back to 2 Corinthians chapter 12 and read the whole story)
Today I got up and went to the gym and did strength training. It made me feel SO WEAK.
We have to weaken our muscles in order to get stronger.
It had me thinking about all the spiritually weak moments I have encountered in life. I may not get around to muscle strengthening but my dance card is full from: disappointment, false hope, heartbreak, and hopelessness.
Those weaknesses are building strength in character, and that’s what I get to take with me long after this world is gone.
Building strength is incremental and it takes resolve to push through set backs and challenges.
Some days you nail it in the gym and then you are so sore you feel like you need a wheel chair to move the next day.
Because lunges people.
Recognizing the size of the setback and accepting it’s role in the process is a key part of building strength.
I’m preparing my home to be full this weekend- a delight for me! I love the hustle and bustle of a full house. My cardio and strength training today looks like a broom and vacuum instead of dumbbells and crunches.
Tomorrow a friend is going to help me work out and push me to see what I really can do. (Remember last week, friendship is ideal)
I am harder on myself than other people are.
My friend is a professional trainer. He showed me some work out routines this week—his routine was EASIER than my own.
He focused on supporting muscles.
When I create a routine it’s always centered on what I don’t like about myself.
When your supporting muscles are weak—you end up over working your major muscles—like the ones you need to walk. I’ll have more endurance and energy if I can focus on working on building from the core.
I do this in my spiritual life too. I see something I don’t like and I want to double down on it. And then sweet Jesus says—“hey we can get to that, but let’s start over here. And where he wants to start is always easier and more natural.”
Making time for strength building isn’t always easy. And it is still work. You have to make time for it.
You have to keep the muscles stretched or you’ll hurt yourself
Today I went and worked out and I focused on a lot of stretching.
Lunges, Dead Lifts, Sit ups, and free weights really had my muscles tight. So I loosened up with some running and then did 20 minutes of stretching.
In past attempts to strength train I neglected the importance of this. Mostly because I’m impatient and it is sooo boring.
Stretching helps to heal and restore the muscles and allow you to get back in there and keep building next week.